We can learn many different lessons during challenging times and what I have realised – both from the credit crunch and the recent pandemic – is that the advice process is more valuable than ever during a time when financial circumstances and outlooks can change so quickly. This is a hardly an earth-shattering discovery but focusing on the simple things can often prove to be the most effective.
Many factors continue to impact the current residential and BTL markets. Stamp Duty changes have accelerated activity within the purchase market and the lockdown period has challenged the way that people are living and working which is leading to a number of questions being asked of FTBs, homeowners, landlords and tenants.
Will the attitudes of the younger generation change towards the huge commitments necessary for getting onto the housing ladder? And will the homeownership dream even be achievable for the younger generation in the current economic climate? Could this combination of factors lead to even more people becoming reliant on the rental market?
By Caroline Mirakian, Head of National Accounts at Pepper Money
Life is beginning to grind back into gear, but it’s a different gear to the one in which we entered the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing face coverings on public transport and in shops, for example, will be part of life for quite some time and working from home will be a new reality for many.
We’ve already seen many landlords take advantage of the recent stamp duty changes to add to their existing portfolios, but there are also other benefits on offer. A lesser known knock-on effect from this tax break is that it can also provide landlords with the opportunity to incorporate existing properties into a limited company structure.
There has been much talk about the pros and cons of incorporating a property or portfolio into a limited company structure in recent times. By adding further monetary gain into this equation, all types of landlords are re-evaluating their positions to see if they would be better off operating as a limited company.
The buy-to-let sector has seen a raft of positive news in recent times as lenders are becoming increasingly active and landlords are taking advantage of some favourable conditions. The recent change in the stamp duty threshold has served to generate an even greater volume of enquiries and this demand is showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Of course, the additional 3% stamp duty surcharge on additional properties will still apply, but investors will benefit from not having to pay the standard stamp duty on purchases of up to £500,000. According to research from Hamptons International, the stamp duty holiday will save the average investor almost £2,000 which will encourage more landlords and investors to add to their portfolios before next spring, and many are looking to take advantage of this sooner, rather than later.
The buy-to-let sector is well accustomed to change, but this doesn’t mean that landlords should become complacent when it comes to the implementation of any new policy or legislation.
In a quick recap of recent BTL-related events, April saw the introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards and the second part of the Tenant Fees Act was introduced in June. It is now time for landlords to turn their attention to the new electrical safety standards which came into force on 1st July. This means that all electrical installations must now be inspected and tested by a qualified person before a new tenancy begins.